Sunday, November 21, 2010

Communicate The Solutions You Provide

We live in trying times. People feel pressure. Everyone has seen the effects of the economic downturn over the past two years, and few are left feeling secure. Many worry about job security and the sustainability of their businesses. This pressure makes many become self focused. They cannot see what others do, want, need, or desire.... and it can be troublesome to recognize the value that other bring to the table. Thus they wear blinders and miss (or misinterpret) the solutions you may be providing.

When it is known you provide solutions, you are always in demand. Your products and services need not be complex, they just need to help other people easily solve problems. But if they do not know what you do, you are screwed.

If people do not see you as fixing the issue at hand then nothing you can do for them matters. It is easy for decision makers to pass over your offering when they do not understand. How you communicate your value is just as important as the value you provide.

This is equally true for vendors and employees:

One company I know laid off several of their best employees (for the long run) to solve short term needs. Those who would have provided ongoing success were let go because of what were the owners immediate problems. The boss did not realize the dysfunctional employees he kept would be the core of tomorrow's short end of the stick.

A mutual understanding of the situation at hand would have lead to different decisions by the employees in their actions, and of the boss in his downsizing decisions. Years later he confided that he made a mistake in his choice of whom to continue to employ. By that time the damage was done. He had to retool his whole company strategy. The employees whom had been laid off had gone onto new jobs and did not want to return. I hope they learned to better communicate their value to their future employers.

Entrepreneurs often have a lot of passion for the businesses they build, but that passion can often cloud how they inform prospects about their products and services. Too often prospective clients will pre-judge a solution and categorize it with other offerings they have seen. When your product is uniquely qualified to help a customer, you must find a way to ensure they understand the offering.

All businesses struggle with being viewed as a commodity. No true entrepreneur thinks his company is just run-of-the-mill, and the same as the competitor.... but many fail to help their potential customers see the differences. If you are just on of many.... you will not win the long-term business.

Communication is more important today than ever before. Everyone is bombarded with information, and they are listening less. Just tweeting something (literally and figuratively) does not mean you communicated the information.

Focus your message on the solutions you provide and over communicate. Never assume that someone understands or even heard you. Craft and re-craft your message to impact your audience in a variety of ways, and then ask them questions to determine how they perceived what you are trying to imply.

Finally, never stop. You cannot just look at communicating your solutions as a "campaign". Those days are gone. Constant messaging is key (without being obnoxious... yes, it is a fine line!). Out of sight is out of mind.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

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